>A recent SOS post on one of my librarian listservs has inspired me to write again. Time has been getting away from me lately, as I am counting down these last three months until my second child arrives, and I have not put much though into writing. However, this listserv post, which called attention to a letter to the editor in a local newspaper struck a nerve. In particular, the person writing the letter suggested that a public library be enough of a resource and that school librarians were dispensable. Ouch!…sad shake of the head. I just had to write a response.
Rather than repeat the entire thing, here is the link. I was particularly proud of (bye bye anonymity) the last paragraph. In it, I state that if the collective “we” are not thinking about the information on the Internet or even reflecting upon how we go about finding it, then it has no meaning. It’s just words. Empty words. The Internet is vast ocean of emptiness if there is no meaning derived from the words being carried by the digital waves.
Isn’t this what is also wrong with media in general today? Lots and lots of words are thrown around by people on supposed news channels and too little research is done to decipher the words or the expertise of person saying them. We simply absorb them, nod our heads and spit them back out during barbeques, ball games, at the gym, over coffee… How often are we really asking, “Where is this information coming from?” or “Who is behind this message and what is their agenda/qualifications?” We want to be able to blindly trust our news sources, but it is an unfortunate aspect of our current society that we cannot. The era of Walter Cronkite is gone.
What I strive to teach my students about website evaluation can really be applied to information at large. It is important to assess the process by which the information has been delivered into our hands. If not, then we are all only talking-heads, empty words spilling out of our mouths, having no real meaning.
Misinformation is a dangerous thing. I think the library community should develop a spokesperson. New Jersey has SuperLibrarian, but maybe she should have an archenemy or two. The treacherous Miss Information strikes again! I wonder if they would let me write episodes for their website…..